My Folks Don’t Want Me To Talk About Slavery edited by Belinda Hurmence
“One day Grandpappy sassed Miss Polly White, and she told him that if he didn’t behave hisself that she would put him in her pocket. Grandpappy was a big man, and I ask him how Miss Polly could do that. He said she meant that she would sell him, then put the money in her pocket. He never did sass Miss Polly no more.”
These eloquent words come from a former slave– an important but long-neglected source of information about the institution of slavery in the United States. Who could better describe what slavery was like than the people who experienced it? And describe it they did, in thousands of remarkable interviews sponsored by the Federal Writers’ Project during the 1930s. These narratives, though artless in many ways, speak compellingly of the joys and sorrows, the hopes and dreams of the countless people who endured human bondage in the land of the free.
Belinda Hurmence was born in Oklahoma, raised in Texas, and educated at the University of Texas and Columbia University. She has written several novels for young people and edited companion volumes to this book, including Before Freedom When I Just Can Remember and We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard.